Heather Locklear and Franklin & Bash are a perfect fit on TNT, but that shouldn’t surprise anybody who saw her resurrect a struggling Melrose Place in the ’90s.
Franklin & Bash (9pm ET Wednesdays) is one of those cable dramas that can drive a viewer crazy. I initially despised the series when it premiered two years ago, and then it kind of grew on me. Unfortunately, there was still something missing, and it turned out that something was Locklear.
The main problem with the premise of Franklin & Bash is that you really have to suspend belief to accept that any firm would accept the sophomoric actions and unprofessional behavior of lawyers Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer). Even if they are good attorneys in court, it just became a tad too ridiculous.
Enter Locklear, whose Rachel King was brought in by company honcho Stanton Infeld (the wonderful Malcolm McDowell) to run the firm. Suffice it to say, she was not a fan of the antics going on and was determined to nip it in the bud. Anybody who watched Melrose Place will have flashbacks of Locklear’s Amanda Woodward, who was brought in to save D&D Advertising.
In the season premiere a few weeks ago, we were introduced to Rachel King right before she was about to go on Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN with Franklin & Bash (who have no clue she is going to be their new boss). She immediately made an impact by telling Gosselaar’s character that he has a big head and that he has a space between his incisors. The blow to his large ego made him self conscious and prompted him to completely blow the interview.
Locklear said in an interview on the TNT website that Rachel is fun to play but conceded she has her work cut out for her: “The character’s pretty cool,” she said. “I don’t like them, but I guess everyone else does, so they’re staying.”
While the two main characters obviously can’t go anywhere, bringing in a take-no-prisoners boss like Rachel King does bring some much-needed reality to the show. That was evident in this exchange from a recent episode:
Bash: “What do you want from us?”
King: “I see potential…”
King: “…that’s being wasted.”
Ouch! Locklear, of course, can’t fix all of the problems with Franklin & Bash, so hopefully the writers make a few changes of their own. The first is to find a less annoying way of using comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who plays eccentric legal assistant Pindar Singh. Nanjiani was recently named as one of New York Magazine‘s “10 Comedians to Watch,” but he regretfully brings almost every scene he appears in to a screeching halt. He deserves better.
Also, I realize the show wants to play up the two lead characters as a couple of partying surfers who happen to practice law pretty well, but the scenes shot at their Malibu beach house just make the plots more ridiculous. Showing the characters’ lives outside of the office is fine; going out of your way to make them look like idiots just undercuts their credibility as attorneys.
All that said, Franklin & Bash is still enjoyable as a summertime diversion. If Locklear continues to steal scenes like she did when she joined Melrose Place, though, the network obsessed with ampersand titles might have to consider renaming the show King & Franklin & Bash.
Franklin & Bash photo: Credit TNT/Williams & Hirakawa